Active Directory, Authentication
Using the data warehouse directly (i.e., "live" and not via a static report someone else creates) requires that Carleton's network know who you are. This requires, at present, a login on a Windows machine, either on campus or off campus via a VPN.
If you are logged into a Windows machine on Carleton's network either on campus or from off campus via a VPN, you have performed what is called a domain login. If you have performed a domain login, the network knows who you are and you can therefore access the data warehouse - create reports, pivot tables, refresh data - and do it transparently, without an additional login.
This functionality is not currently available to Mac users - a situation that we may find a workaround for in the future.
An additional complicating factor for Mac users is that, even if we enable domain logins there, accessing the data warehouse also requires an operating system that supports connecting to Microsoft SQL Server (both the relational database and Analysis Services cubes). It also requires reporting and data manipulation tools that can leverage the connectivity provided by the operating system, or that provide this connectivity themselves. Translated into plain English: Apple computers and software lack this necessary infrastructure and are therefore cannot access the data warehouse directly.
We are currently evaluating a product called SharePoint, which will offer partial ways around all these problem.